With 28 distinct region types that make up the Kennel Club's Terrier breeds, it is hard to pinpoint similar characteristics in all of them. But three traits that make them great for hunting are their fearlessness, tenacity, and intelligence, regardless of their shape and size.
Bred to be warriors and hunters, these dogs are the ideal dog for hunting rabbits. They are known to wriggle through thick undergrowth and stop at nothing to win their prize. Their name is from an old French word meaning ‘earth’, as hunting through thick dirt is their speciality. It wasn’t until the 19th century that Terriers were seen less as feisty money-earners and more of a family pet. It is for these reasons why training your Terrier to be the ultimate rabbit hunter is a task worth taking.
Hunting is extremely important for Terriers, as it is part of their natural characteristics. Sending your dog on a hunt will not only exercise it physically but mentally too, keeping your pooch healthy inside and out. The main challenge with Terriers is the need for a large amount of training. Although they have a natural ability for rabbit hunting, to train any dog to hunt takes a lot of time and energy.
To train a Terrier, it will take six to eight months. After that, the work doesn’t stop. Continuous training is key to keep your Terrier’s skills up to scratch. You can start basic rabbit hunting training when your puppy is eight weeks old. However, to get your pooch out in the wild, one year old is the best time to start training your Terrier. Despite this, these breeds have a large natural ability and it is also possible to start training at an older age too.
To get started with training, it is ideal to get your dog used to the scent. An idea would be to source rabbit skin and rabbit legs. Rabbits tend to live in areas of thick bush, shrubbery, and tangled weeds. Terriers are the ideal dog for hunting in areas that the average human wouldn’t be able to locate the rabbit in.
A trick when training a Terrier is to keep learning fun. They are intelligent animals with independence and a fun-loving spirit, so a lot of praise and a fast pace are necessary. Last but not least, Terriers respond well to lots of treats. It would be a good idea to stock up on these before you start training your newfound hunting partner.